This week, I met Dana Meise, a man from Sherwood Park, Alta., who is about to complete the last leg of a 10-year journey to walk to each of Canada’s three coasts.
Meise arrived in Inuvik last week. He hoped to get to Tuktoyaktuk and complete his Trans Canada Trail walk Nov. 1, but due to several unforeseen setbacks, he hasn’t been able to make it yet.
When I spoke to him Nov. 6, he was still determined to make it. I took a photo of him near one of Inuvik’s Trans Canada Trail signs and we chatted outside for 15 or 20 minutes, and I was unbelievably cold.
Meise said the -20 Celsius temperature didn’t bother him – the cold was much worse when he was in Tombstone Territorial Park a few weeks ago when it was -15 and windy.
This is the first week this winter that temperatures have dropped so low in Inuvik, and I’m already thinking of ways I can reduce the amount of time I spend outside, because not only is it cold, the sun is sticking around for less and less time every day.
But this isn’t the right attitude to have. With less and less sunlight every day, I’m realizing it’s more and more important to get outside and breathe in the (frigid) air for as long as I can bear to.
If Meise can walk the 140-odd kilometres to Tuktoyaktuk in the freezing cold, we can all get outside for a while.
Obviously getting moving is good for our physical health, but I think it can also be beneficial for mental health as well.
Whether it is through participating in Walk to Tuk, taking your dog out for a stroll, or ripping around on a skidoo for a while, I think it is important to get outside for at least a short amount of time every day, no matter how cold.
When you don’t want to walk your dog or leave your warm house in the bitter, dark cold this winter, remember Meise – we can get out there if he can literally walk to Tuktoyaktuk.